Community Rabbis Ask

Bad Dreams & Nightmares



I have been living in Switzerland for a few months, and while it is my husband who is the rabbi, people come to me for advice. I had a friend here who suffers from terrifying nightmares. I thought it was because there is a tremendous rift between her and her family that doesn't seem to be ending, particularly between her and her mother.

In the latest dream, her father is chasing after her with a knife and everywhere she goes there is something that is protecting her from him. Is there a connection?


It seems to me that she shouldn't put too much emphasis on these dreams, that they are being caused by the rift between her and her family that is happening in real life. A person dreams about the things he thinks about throughout the day.

In any case, if the dreams still trouble her, she should say the following prayer during the Priestly Blessing (Birkat Kohanim) of the Morning Prayer:
Master of the Universe, I am Yours and my dreams are Yours. I have dreamt a dream and I do not know what it means. May it be Your will, Lord my God and God of my fathers, that all my dreams be, for me and all Israel, for good, whether I have dreamt about myself, or about others, or others have dreamt about me. If they are good, strengthen and reinforce them, and may they be fulfilled in me and them like the dreams of the righteous Joseph. If, though, they need healing, heal them as You healed Hezekiah King of Judah from his illness, like Miriam the prophetess from her leprosy, like Na’aman from his leprosy, like the waters of Mara by Moses our teacher, and like the waters of Jericho by Elisha. And just as You turned the curses of Balaam the wicked from curse to blessing, so turn all my dreams about me and all Israel to good; protect me, be gracious to me and accept me. Amen.

Another prayer that is very helpful for preventing bad dreams is to say the Shema Yisrael prayer at night before sleep with the blessing of "Hamapil" using G-d's name.

Good luck, and we should hear good news.